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a baker-holic, choc fanatic, dessert-freak.. yeah and i'm south asian :). A happy member of the Fuqua Class of 2011.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A snapshot of Ghana!

As promised.. here's a recap of my trip to Ghana...

1) The people: Okay, so what striked me most - was the fact that Ghanians are extremely friendly. Everywhere you go, they will say ' Hello, my friend', and 'Hello, how are you'.. in markets, in tourist areas, almost everywhere I went. There are a lot of foreigners in Accra (the capital of Ghana), who are working in the telecom sector, and a lot of NGO crowd as well. Ghana is considered the NGO hub in West Africa, as its one of the safest countries in West Africa.

Second thing that struck me was the security. Not lack of it - but the fact, that our views of Africa are just so brainwashed by what see on TV. Ghana is one of the safest places in Africa - whether nationals, or foreigners, you would never see any one complaining about crime.What I did find very interesting is that in the huge open markets, particularly, when they see a non-African person, they call them 'obruni' - white man.

Interesting, how despite globalization, and liberalisation particularly in the US, all foreigners - whether from China, Australia, Canada, or even the Sub-Continent, are simply referred to as obrunis.From my short interaction and observations, I did notice one thing remarkable about their culture - they are genuinely happy-go-lucky. I really do think its an art - learning how to stay happy and actually remaining happy. Whether it was the massive open markets of Makola, Agbobloshie or Kneshie, or the roads of Osu, it's easy to notice how festive and lively the people were. Music and dance are part of their culture. In fact, I even saw a funeral (they call it fyuneeyaah), where they were dancing and celebrating the life of the person who passed away.

Another interesting observation - the women tie the babies on their backs, and all the people who are selling something on the roads / markets, carry the commodity on their heads.

2) Food: Well the most common food items present everywhere I went were pawpaw (papaya), plantains, and yam. The pawpaws are truly heavenly - I loved the orange peach color, the texture and the lovely fruity aroma that just adds so well to the overall experience. I saw roasted rats, bats, cow skin, had some local fried plantain chips.. didn't have quite the heart to try the bats, rats and other stuff though... phew.

3) Wildlife / Scenery:
Wow. Not only is Ghana really green, but its landscape is just so diverse. I spent time on beautiful beach resorts of Busua beach, Axim beach among others, with a lovely view of the greenish Atlantic Ocean. The facilities were superb, got extremely tanned though! And in complete contrast, while heading to the Volta region, I was surrounded by valleys, lakes, mountains - simply amazing. Lake Volta is massive, and runs through the Volta Region. We saw Akosombo Dam, and did some nice speed-boating as well.

The highlights of my trip would definitely be:

1) Re-living the Ghanian/ African history by going to Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle - these two slave castles are a bone-chilling experience. We had excellent guides, saw the doors of no return, went inside the male and female dungeons, saw the punishment rooms, and even saw the wells where the slaves were given water from. They say mroe than a million Africans were shipped to North and South America in the 16th-18th centuries in exchange for cotton, rice and other commodities. It's really quite an expereince to walk through the same doors, look at the castle and try to imagine what those people must have gone through.

2) The canopy walk at Kakum National Park - saw some beautiful butterflies, animal species and just loved the canopy walk in the rainforest.

3) Wli Falls: Tucked away in the Volta Region - these waterfalls are beautiful. After a long drive from Accra, and then a long walk to the actual waterfalls, you really feel awed. If you look up, you see literally millions of bats, as its also a bat sanctuary. I was lucky enough to see my 1st rainbow at the Wli Falls. Simply stunning.

These are just a few of the highlights from the Ghana trip - I'd definitely recommend it. I guess what I really valued about it was how different it was when compared to vacations in the U.S or Europe. No big flashy billboards. No McDonalds, Starbucks, big multinational brands. Just pure, pristine scenic and wildlife beauty.


Anonymous said...

Thats as good a snapshot as it can get!
I wonder how Starbucks/McDonalds would be able to compete with the rats and the bats :-)

Omne said...

Wow that looks like an amazing trip! Glad you had a good time!